Is a la carte cable really a “farce” as 21st Century Fox CEO Chase Carey claims? Well we’re about to find out because our neighbors to the north are doing us the favor of giving it a try. Per The Hollywood Reporter, TV subscribers in Ontario this week will be able to buy channels a la carte from IPTV startup VMedia, whose UChoose Store will charge subscribers around $2.12 per month for each channel they subscribe to. Subscribers will also have the option of buying small bundles of 6 channels that will cost $1.65 each per month or 12 channels that will cost $1.41 each per month. More →
It seems that everyone hates cable bundles these days, including the creators of South Park who recently ridiculed cable companies as nipple-rubbing monopolist greedheads intent on shaking consumers down for every last dime. But there are two groups that still think bundles are terrific: The cable companies themselves and the entertainment studios that benefit from consumers subsidizing content they’ll never watch with their monthly cable bills. Multichannel reports that 21st Century Fox CEO Chase Carey recently lashed out at cable critics and said that bundles were good for most consumers even if they didn’t know it. More →
It’s no secret that most Americans really don’t like their Internet service providers and now Ars Technica has reached out to its reader base to get a better understanding of exactly why Americans hold their ISPs in such low esteem. What emerges, Ars finds, is consumers who are fed up with “high prices, data caps, absurd policies, and incompetence.” More →
Are you a cable TV subscriber who might be considering cutting the cord? Did you already take the leap and dump your TV service? Cable TV doesn’t want to see you go, and it wants you back if you’ve already left. And what better way to convey that message than with a nice little campaign put together by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the main trade association for cable operators in the U.S.
Behold: The Hole Saga. More →
Cable companies have shown no signs of concern over cord cutting so far and it’s easy to see why: Even customers who ditch their home video services will keep paying cable companies for broadband access. But TechHive notes that the cord cutting trend might finally be showing up on cable companies’ radars now that it’s growing to a more substantial size. A quick rundown of the numbers: Comcast has added 917,000 broadband subscribers this year but has lost 348,000 pay TV customers; Charter added 86,000 broadband subscribers but lost 27,000 pay TV subscribers; and Time Warner Cable saw its broadband subscriber numbers rise by 1.7% while seeing its pay TV subscriber numbers shrink by 6%. More →
Whenever you see an industry with high profits and low customer satisfaction ratings, it’s a good bet that it doesn’t face the same kinds of competitive pressures that most industries deal with on a regular basis. Such has certainly been the case with the cable industry, whose largest two vendors don’t even compete with one another in any major markets. And as Ars Technica reports, cable companies could dramatically boost their services’ speeds starting today if they wanted to… but they won’t because they aren’t facing any competitive pressure to do so in most markets. More →
As we’ve observed before, cable companies are not popular in the United States. Various surveys have shown that cable companies have even lower customer satisfaction ratings than airlines or that pay TV companies account for six of the seven worst-rated companies in the U.S. And now Light Reading has conducted a poll of its readers that shows what lots of other polls have shown in recent years: People still really don’t like their cable providers. More →
Cord-cutting has become even more of a headache for pay television providers over the past year. The Wall Street Journal points us to a new report from researchers at MoffettNathanson estimating that the pay TV industry lost 113,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2013, thus capping off what analyst Craig Moffett calls the “worst 12 month stretch ever” in the industry’s history. The biggest losers in this scenario were unsurprisingly the cable companies that have been reporting massive subscriber losses over the past year, highlighted by Time Warner Cable announcing that it lost a stunning 300,000 pay TV subscribers last quarter. Telcos such as Verizon and AT&T and satellite companies such as Dish have fared better and have reported upticks in market share even as the cable companies continue to bleed subscribers, MoffettNathanson finds.
Congress is America’s least-liked political institution but it could score some points with the public if it takes on one of America’s least-liked industries. The Washington Post reports that Senator Jay Rockefeller (D., WV) has introduced new legislation aimed at reining in cable companies’ ability to dictate what consumers can watch and what channels they’re required to buy as part of their bundling packages. Among other things, the bill would bar cable companies from entering into deals with broadcasters to keep their live content from Netflix, Hulu and other digital streaming services; would shore up regulations against ISPs degrading competing video services’ traffic in favor of their own; and it would give the Federal Communications Commission the power to monitor broadband billing practices. More →
Cable CEOs don’t seem to understand why more and more customers are shunning their pay TV services. The Wall Street Journal reports that Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge said that he’s been “surprised” recently by the number of subscribers who are opting to go only with broadband services and are forgoing his company’s pay television options. Rutledge said that he thinks customers are shunning pay TV because Charter’s video service still needs to be improved and not because they’re opting to just get a broadband connection and watch Netflix and Hulu. Of course, Charter isn’t the only cable company to see a rise in cord cutting as Time Warner Cable last quarter announced that it had lost a whopping 300,000 pay TV subscribers while Comcast has reported losing tens of thousands of pay TV subscribers this year.
Do you like being able to stream Netflix movies at home without worrying about going over a monthly broadband cap? Well too bad — National Cable and Telecommunications Association chief Michael Powell wants to take even this simple joy away from you. Multichannel News reports that Powell this week said that he was encouraging more cable companies to start implementing usage caps on their services before cable customers get too comfortable with the idea of limited data. In fact, if there’s one criticism that Powell has of the cable industry it’s that they’re not “moving with some urgency and purpose” toward hitting broadband customers with the same data caps that wireless customers have come to know and love. More →
If you’re like a lot of people, then you may be less-than-happy with your cable TV provider. The good news is that you can now watch a lot of your favorite televisions shows without subscribing to a monthly pay TV package. Yes, we’re talking about cord cutting, the small but growing trend of ditching pay television services in favor of watching as much TV as possible over the Internet. Forbes contributor Amadou Diallo has put together a guide to help all first-time cord-cutters get through life without cable TV and it’s a terrific resource for any frustrated Comcast or Time Warner Cable customer looking to make the switch. More →
Netflix has been the movie and TV streaming service to beat for years, but the company continues to explore potential avenues for expansion. Bloomberg reports that Netflix has been offering to partner with cable companies for two years, but has yet to make much headway. Two European cable companies, Virgin Media in the U.K. and Com Hem AB in Sweden, have both decided to include Netflix as an app on TiVo set-top boxes, but U.S. companies have yet to accept the partnership. More →